The Bloom Group, Inc. Welcomes New Associate

By Staff
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—The Bloom Group, Inc., one of Alabama’s most respected governmental affairs firms, announces Garrett Jemison, former State Director for Senator Richard Shelby, as the firm’s newest associate.

For almost 30 years, the State’s premier governmental relations firm has been advocating for its clients and reaping real results. Now, with the addition of Jemison, this team of experienced professionals has gotten even stronger.

Jemison, a Montgomery native, brings his strategic planning skills, his detailed understanding of the interface of business and government, expertise in campaign fundraising and messaging, and a long-standing relationship with Alabama’s Congressional Delegation, to bear on behalf of The Bloom Group’s clients.
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Big PAC Money Flows to One Candidate in Race to Replace Hubbard

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Four candidates are vying for the seat once held by convicted felon, Mike Hubbard in the Republican primary on September 13. The voters of District 79 have yet to pick a candidate, but the well-heeled of Auburn and influential Montgomery PACs have already chosen theirs.

Jay Conner, Joe Lovvorn, Sandy Toomer and Brett Smith are all in the running, but only Lovvorn is winning the “dash for cash” contest.
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Contract Review Thursday

By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Alabama’s Medicaid agency is asking contract review to approve a $1,199,750.00 increase with Optumas an Arizona-based health care reform consulting group. The contract would total $3,199,250.00.

Optumas reform proposals in 2013 led to 23 words which would have given American Pharmacy Cooperative Inc. (APCI) a monopoly over Alabama’s Medicaid pharmacy benefit management program.

In 2013 Optumas’ analysis showed Medicaid would achieve a significant saving under a pharmacy benefit management program.
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Lawsuit Filed Over STAARS

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—A lawsuit was filed late Thursday night in Montgomery Circuit Court, over the $47 million dollar black hole known as STAARS.

At the heart of the complaint is the no-bid contract entered into by Governor Robert Bentley and the State Department of Finance. The suit brought by State Auditor Jim Zeigler, who is suing in his official capacity and as an individual, will go before Montgomery Circuit Judge William Shashy. In the complaint, Zeigler is also representing, “a class of all taxpayers whose taxes are funding payment for the illegal STAARS contract.”
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Hubbard Sells Auburn Network Building (Guess when?)

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—On the same day Mike Hubbard was found guilty of 12 felony counts of public corruption, the building that houses his Auburn Network, LLC, sold for a cash price of $810,000.00 to New Life Properties, LLC.

Hubbard was co-owner of the building located at 197 E University Drive in Auburn.

The titled owner at the time of the sale was Weagle, LLC., which is a North Carolina based LLC in which Hubbard is a named partner, according to State filing. The seller’s closing documents were signed by Mark H. Reese as member of Weagle, LLC.
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Hubbard Trial, Day Eleven: Hubbard Says, “Not Guilty” Hart Replies “Not So Fast”

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

OPELIKA—In the matter of the State of Alabama v. Michael G. Hubbard, the defendant, during testimony on day eleven, sought to convince the jury that all of the charges against him were false. It was simply a matter of misunderstanding or misrepresenting the facts by the Prosecution.

Hubbard said that every investment in Craftmaster Printers was made by a friend. Then he added, that the investment by Sterns Agee, an agreement, was “a loan document.” They were not friends, even though the firm was given the same investment terms as everyone else.
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Hubbard Trial Day Five: Sumner Fries Hubbard

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

OPELIKA—Former Alabama Ethics Commission Director, Jim Sumner, testified authoritatively and effectively with devastating consequences for the defense on Day Five of the criminal trial of Speaker Mike Hubbard.

In spite of Hubbard’s attorney, Bill Baxley, attempting to marginalize Sumner’s testimony, Judge Jacob Walker, III sided with the State and certified him as an expert on Alabama’s Ethics Laws.

Sumner’s twenty years as director proved invaluable in making the case that Hubbard had, in fact, violated the Ethics Laws for which he has been charged. Under direct examination by Deputy Attorney General Matt Hart, Sumner gave testimony to the various charges against Hubbard. Court observers agreed that it was the most devastating day for Hubbard since his former chief of staff, Josh Blades, took the stand. One defense attorney said Sumner’s detailed testimony was “damning” to Hubbard’s cause.
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Who are the Players for Day Five?

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—Today begins the fifth day in the felony criminal trial against Speaker Mike Hubbard, who is charged with 23 counts of public corruption.

The State, on Friday, released the names of twelve witnesses who will give testimony on a range of topics including Hubbard’s role in placing 23 words in the Medicaid portion of the 2014 State General Fund Budget that would have given his client, American Pharmacy Cooperative Inc. (APCI), a monopoly over the multi-million dollar program. Scheduled to give testimony are Bill Eley and Ferrell Patrick. Eley is an in-house lobbyist for APCI, with a long history as a Montgomery lobbyist.
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Jon Mason Amends Filings, But Does It Add Up?

By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY—On Thursday, Jon Mason, husband of Rebekah Caldwell Mason, former advisor to Governor Robert Bentley, filed amended forms with the Alabama Ethics Commission for his 2011, 2012, and 2013 filings. Mason owns JRM Enterprises, Inc., a Tuscaloosa-based advertising, marketing, and design firm.

As reported by this publication earlier this week, there were questions surrounding apparent omissions and mistakes on Mason’s reports. Although, at first glance, they don’t seem to balance exactly against State records.
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More Money for Mason Via PayPal, Omits Info on Ethics Forms

By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

MONTGOMERY —University of Alabama Systems (UA) online records show Jon Mason’s company received more payments in March. Jon Mason is the husband of Rebekah Caldwell Mason former advisor to Governor Robert Bentley. Both failed to include on their ethics forms that Jon Mason performed consulting work for the University. On his 2012 ethics filing, he does not list his wife or her state job.
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